“For a long time people tried to figure out ‘What is Plan B?’” says Plan B principal Dede Gardner, who along with fellow executives Jeremy Kleiner and Brad Pitt will receive the David O. Selznick Award at the 31st annual Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 18. “I remember Brad came to us the year that we released ‘12 Years a Slave’ and ‘World War Z’ with a grin on his face: ‘That’s Plan B.’ Truthfully, it’s narratively driven. We are real lovers of stories, and that’s been the singular guidepost since the very beginning.”

Those films, along with a prestigious, awards and nomination-heavy output including “Selma,” “The Big Short,” “Moonlight,” “Vice” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” form the sort of enviable body of work over the course of Plan B’s two decades — one Kleiner says is informed by the fluid Pitt-influenced development culture “of trying to stay present tense and be inspired, when the inspirations arrive in whatever form: a filmmaker or a book or a piece of journalism.”

“Brad’s a true cinephile, and genuinely blows our mind constantly with the amount that he sees, the depth to which he does to investigate as a filmmaker,” Gardner says. “His curiosity is an inspiring thing to be around.”

Kleiner also praises Pitt’s cinematic insights. “The language he uses is as specific as his choices are as an actor.”

Gardner, Kleiner says, demonstrates the courage to tackle complicated material that inspires respect, while she praises her partner for keen intuition for the needs of a disparate array of filmmakers. Plan B’s enduring partnership is also key to its success.

“Longevity is an underrated characteristic in creative industry,” Gardner says. “We have a lot of moments in meetings where we don’t say a word to each other, but we know exactly what the other person is saying.”